Boost for $55 mln E African start-up/SME fund

A new fund is making good progress in raising up to US$55 million to be invested in business start-ups and small and medium enterprises in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. The Fanisi Venture Capital Fund was set up with help from Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund) and incorporated in Luxembourg. Norfund is also an investor and a shareholder in the management company, Fanisi Capital Ltd.,,which is majority owned by Nairobi-based Amani Capital Ltd.
Fanisi has raised $40 mln in commitments and expects to reach its goal in the next 12 months. On 22 January, the Internatonal Finance Corporation (www.ifc.org), part of the World Bank group, announced it will invest $7.5 mln.
According to an IFC press release: “The fund plans to make investments between $500,000 and $3 million in a variety of sectors, ranging from manufacturing to technology, helping smaller enterprises and start-ups get the capital they need to create and expand businesses. It also will set up a business services support facility to help pipeline companies overcome technical and governance limitations, pre- and post-investment.”
It quotes Ayisi Makatiani, head of the fund’s investment team and CEO of the fund nabager: “IFC’s early and continued support to the Fanisi team has been extremely helpful, especially for a local and first-time fund management platform.”
IFC’s Gender Programme has agreed to support the business services facility, and IFC’s Rwanda Enterprise Development Programme will provide training support to the fund’s portfolio companies.
Haydee Celaya, IFC Director for Private Equity and Investment Funds, said, “IFC is investing in this local private equity fund that focuses in growing SMEs and startups at a critical time, when the region needs long-term financial and advisory support. The investment also will help build local fund management capacity.”
IFC is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by investing in private equity funds that target small enterprises in developing markets. Smaller enterprises are responsible for much of the job creation in the East African region.

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